Process safety and dangerous goods

Protection, munitions and weapons

Chemistry can be hazardous and involve dangerous reagents, energetic reactions and/or risky process conditions. The industrial production of chemicals, their storage, transportation and end-use must occur in a safe, reliable and efficient manner. For this reason, understanding the chemistry and behaviour of a dangerous substance is paramount; this is the goal of our work.

TNO has contributed to the development of many tests and criteria in the field of hazardous chemicals. TNO’s so-called “Coloured Books” are used around the world as standard reference material for safety studies and as the basis for software models.

TNO Process Safety Solutions applies its recognized hazardous chemistry expertise, explosion safety knowhow and highly specialist infrastructure to support the safe chemical handling and improvements to process performance.

Chemistry under Extreme Conditions

Unique problems require unique expertise and capabilities. TNO Process Safety Solutions has a proven track record in the customized testing of processes and materials under extreme conditions. We can help you identify whether certain materials, equipment or processes can handle extreme temperatures, pressure or explosions. Our fume hoods, analysis equipment and testing infrastructure are placed in fortified bunkers. This enables us to perform experiments under extreme conditions such as temperatures ranging from -180°C to 1000°C, pressures ranging from 0 to 2000 bar, from no hazard to highly explosive and from lab scale to pilot scale. Our expertise includes:

  • hydrogen, ammonia, hydrocarbons, reactive chemicals, composite materials
  • experiments in cryogenic conditions, high temperatures, high pressure
  • permeability and compatibility tests with high pressure and/or hazardous chemicals
  • explosion safety
  • runaway reactions

This broad range of possibilities enables our customers to develop new materials, novel applications, explore innovative production routes or intensify their current processes without compromising on safety.

An overview with showcases is given in this document (pdf).

Classification and Testing of Dangerous Goods

At TNO Process Safety Solutions we have extensive knowledge of testing and criteria standards in the field of handling, transporting and classifying hazardous materials. We understand their background and can carry them out efficiently and effectively on short notice. With decades of experience in testing and classifying materials for all kinds of industries, we are able to provide sophisticated chemicals safety studies. Our activities include:

  • classification of dangerous goods (according to UN Manual of Test and Criteria, ADR, IMDG code, CLP, etc.)
  • thermal stability tests (DSC, TGA coupled with FTIR/MS, HFC)
  • sensitivity tests (sensitivity to spark, friction, impact or detonative shock)
  • detonation and deflagration tests
  • response to heating or ignition under confinement (Koenen, DPVT, TPT)
  • burning behaviour test

These analyses play an essential role in identifying potential risk factors related to the processing, handling and storage of hazardous materials and are key to preventing industrial, logistics and warehousing incidents. TNO Process Safety Solutions continuously applies these tests and our expertise includes materials such as:

  • explosive substances and articles
  • ammonium nitrate based fertilizers
  • fireworks
  • organic peroxides and self-reactives
  • self-heating substances
  • thermally instable substances
  • pharmaceuticals

In addition to the actual testing, we are involved in the development of new regulations and test methods, we participate in international expert groups and we maintain a good relationship with various national research and test institutes around the world. This means we are always at the forefront of new developments and can provide the best possible support to our clients in their continuous advances.

You can see an overview of our testing capabilities in this document (pdf).

Responding to customer focus

Our broad clientele includes large chemical, food and pharma companies, SMEs, national authorities and insurance companies. We can easily adapt to the specific focus of our customers, partners and stakeholders. Our Process Safety Solutions team consists of multi-disciplinary specialists who are able to apply their expertise to find a solution to your challenge.

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Protection materials


In mission and weapon-platform development, lighter is always better. TNO has been working on the trade-off between weight and protection level for many years.

Personal protection


What injuries can be expected due to a bullet impact on a helmet? How does a bullet, explosion or grenade (IED) affect the human body? What protection level is provided by bullet proof vests and how can this be improved? Can feasible requirements for personal protection be specified given a specific threat range?

Infrastructure protection and survivability


Infrastructures, such as buildings, protective structures, industrial complexes, tunnels, harbours and pipelines, are a vital part of modern society, all of which are extremely vulnerable to the effects of an explosion.

Statement regarding circulating TNO test reports with alleged NIJ certification of armour plates

28 July 2022

It has come to our attention that there are armour plates circulating online with test reports claiming they’re NIJ 0101.06 IV SA certified and tested by TNO. Please note that this is false and misleading information. TNO does not issue NIJ (National Institute of Justice) certificates. The test protocol for NIJ certification requires multiple samples and can only take place in a US laboratory.

Weapon systems


We determine the performance of weapon systems. Government and industry use our assessments to make choices and implement innovations.